Noise mapping and action plans

The EU Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EU) from 25 June 2002 on mapping and noise action plans was implemented in Denmark in 2005.

Noise mapping 

The responsibility for noise mapping has been de-centralised so that:

  • the Ministry of Transport is responsible for mapping of the State roads and the main parts of the railways
  • the municipalities are responsible for mapping the municipal major roads, and for mapping the noise from all roads in the major cities
  • the environmental authority (which is either the Ministry of the Environment or the municipality) is responsible for mapping of noise from airports and for larger IPPC-industries in cities
  • the Danish Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for coordinating and publishing the noise maps as well as reporting to EU

The statutory order was revised in 2006 and published at the same time as guidelines for noise mapping and noise action plans. Here the procedure and data format etc is specified, and it is prescribed that a contemporary ("third generation") noise calculation method, Nord2000 , has to be used for mapping of road and rail noise.

Download guidelines no. 4/2006 on noise mapping and noise action plans (in Danish) (PDF, 2.39MB)

The first phase of noise mapping was to be finished in June 2007. However, due to administrative and technical difficulties some delays occurred. In the first phase, only one large city (Copenhagen area) has been mapped, as well as the largest motorways and a limited number of other major roads together with about 600 km of the primary railways. More information on the noise map can be found in the FAQ box below.

Latest revision is statutory order no. 51 of 12 January 2011 on Mapping of environmental noise and preparation of noise action plans (in Danish)

The next phase of noise mapping, in 2012, will include substantially more roads and railways. Moreover, in addition to the Copenhagen area; the central parts of Odense, Aalborg and Aarhus will also be mapped in detail.

The noise map was not completed entirely in the time fixed by the EU Environmental Noise Directive, but was updated regularly and is at present complete. The map also allows for illustration of quiet areas.

Read more about the EU Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EU)

Noise Action Plans

After having mapped the noise, the authorities must make a noise action plan.

In general, a noise action plan is a coherent plan describing the actions a municipality (or another authority) will take during a certain period to reduce or prevent noise. Noise action plans are not solely reserved for those authorities that play a role in EU-noise mapping, but can be utilized voluntarily by any authority.

The noise action plan gives the opportunity to fight the noise from many sides, and to plan a combination of actions against more types of noise.

Noise action plans in municipalities should reflect a co-operation between the planning, environmental and road section. The municipal section for general health can also contribute to the plan.

The noise action plan plays together with the traffic and environment plan, and serves as part of the background for the spatial plan for the entire municipality. Thus, it is crucial that the plan is subject to a public hearing, so the citizens can participate with their points of view, and the plan is discussed in the municipal council.

The noise action plans which are made according to the EU Environmental Noise Directive must fulfil a number of formal criteria as to the reporting format, but it is not mandatory that specific actions are taken or that specific goals are set up.

Read more about the EU Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EU)

Quiet Areas

As part of the noise mapping and noise action plans, municipalities have the possibility to nominate quiet areas. Such quiet areas, reported by the municipalities, can be shown in the noise map. Some municipalities have nominated quiet areas in their first generation Noise Action Plans.

Quiet areas are accessible, undisturbed areas, protected by spatial planning to avoid future noise, where citizens can experience tranquillity. Distinction is made between quiet areas in the open country and quiet areas in cities.

In a quiet area in the open country the soundscape should be dominated by natural sound, and man-made noise sources should only be audible with long intervals. In these areas, one aim is to preserve the natural quiet. Quiet areas can serve other purposes simultaneously, including protecting of landscape, nature or species.

This amount of quietness cannot be obtained in cities, where the goal for a quiet area should be that it has a low noise impact and are not disturbed by noise in a degree worth mentioning. Examples of quiet areas in cities are calm parks, churchyards, public gardens, monuments, etc.

It is not yet possible to indicate a proper measure of quietness, so no guidance in the form of design values or limits have been given. The crucial issue is that the municipality considers quiet areas in the municipality's spatial plan, so no future noise sources can be allowed near the quiet area.

Read more about the EU Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EU)

Read more about statutory order no. 51 of 12 January 2011 on Mapping of environmental noise and preparation of noise action plans (in Danish)